The scoop on tempeh – by guest expert Holly Harris APD

With its recent debut in the Recipe Redux, fermented foods are trending the tastebuds of foodies around town. Tempeh has emerged from the underground scene and is definitely the new tofu on the chopping block.  So we asked one of our Sub of the Month’s to investigate and help us tune into tempeh.

About our expert:

Holly Harris APD was the April Sub of the Month.  Holly graduated from Queensland University of Technology in 2012 with First Class Honours. She continues to be involved with the university through a research scholarship and has been working in a gym providing expert dietary advice to reshape the eating patterns of her clients, using practical, interactive and evidence-based strategies.   Nutrition education is provided to clients involved in ’12 week’ or ‘8 week’ challenges, which includes one-on-one consultations, grocery shopping tours and cooking demonstrations. Each ‘Challenge’ has a Facebook group, which Holly posts in daily, delivering nutrition advice and monitoring discussions.  Read her full bio here.

Strikingly different in appearance and texture from your traditional tofu, tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, molded into a firm cake. Even though I’m  vegetarian, I feel that this type of minimal processing for maximum flavour is preferable over other vegetarian alternatives, such as soy nuggets and burgers.

Cheap in price, but not in nutritional value, tempeh is a protein powerhouse, a source of fibre and delivers a healthy dose of good bacteria to the gut. Tempeh absorbs flavours well, thus lending itself to be the star of any dish. There are literally no limits to which this ingredient can be used.  But in my experience, most people need a little inspiration and help to get started.  So I went on a hunt around and enjoyed the research along the way, to bring you my Top Six Tempeh dishes:

1. Earth Burgers

Although an ‘earth burger’, this patty is unlike any mud food you made when you were three. Teresa Cutter (aka ‘The Healthy Chef’) takes on the humble burger patty with a mix of flavours from the grated tempeh, quinoa, sunflower seeds, tahini and tamari all combined and coated with sesame seeds.



2. Sanitarium’s Tempeh Stir Fry

Tempeh’s subtle nutty flavour and tender mouthfeel balances out Asian dishes. This recipe by Sanitarium can be used as base for a classic stir-fry which you ‘dress up’ to suit your own taste and preference.  Throw in your favourite vegetables such as bok choy, shallots, cauliflower, green beans and snow peas.


3. Tempeh Tacos with a Roasted Poblano Salsa

Why not introduce tempeh into one of your Mexican favourites, and give the shredded beef a much needed holiday… Adios! Burritos, nachos, enchiladas… anything beef does, tempeh can do (…better – without the saturated fat). Authentic down to the roots, these tacos are topped with a roasted poblano salsa. Poblano is a Mexican pepper, although, ancho chillies would be great as a tasty sub.

Source: via Emma on Pinterest


4. Kale Salad with Chickpeas and Spicy Tempeh bits

This salad recipe is a marriage between the subtly spicey and chewy characteristics of the tempeh and the oh so hot-right-now kale. Indulge in the legume and bean salad as side dish or main meal.


5. Crusted Tempeh with Sweet Potato Chips and Garlic Dressing BBQ Recipe

Janella Purcell (the ‘good’ chef from ‘Good Chef Bad Chef’) has reinvented the great Australian BBQ meal with this golden crusted tempeh served with a side of sweet potato chips, for a deliciously crunchy vegan dish.


6.   Spiced Tempeh Chips

The sliceable, meat-loaf texture of tempeh gives these crispy finger foods a place to belong in a labrynth table of tapas. This flavour fusion was created by Maria, a Finnish-Australian food and props stylist.



Editor’s comment:

Thanks so much Holly.  I must admit to being totally inspired by your collection. And guilty of not tempting my family with tempeh enough.  Time to add it into the menu plan for next week.  How about you lovely readers?  Are you tuned into tempeh?

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